Chapter 27 – Beni Part 2

Beni’s first night in Pittsburgh – the night I first saw him smile

The weeks passed and Beni got more and more attached to us.  I was unsure of what to do.  Finally, it was two days before my trip to Las Vegas for the electronics show.  If I wanted to send him back, I still had time to make a call and make arrangements.  It was on my mind a lot and I struggled with it.  I remember two nights before I left, I let him in from the backyard where he was running in the snow on his lead.  He seemed so happy.  The whole situation was very uncomfortable. 

Beni ran up the small flight of steps from the backyard and stopped at my feet,  I released him from the lead and watched him run up the stairs, wagging his tail.  The poor little guy had no idea his life was hanging in the balance. It was so unfair to him. I knew I could make a call and say I am dropping him at the cousin’s house and resolve everything the next day when I went to Las Vegas. But it didn’t feel right, and I could not do that to him. I didn’t want to send him away, yet I still wasn’t ready to make a play to formally adopt him.

I needed a kick in the butt, and the next evening, I got it.

Moonlight spotlight

 I was all packed and ready for my morning flight to Las Vegas. It was time to drop the dogs off at Darlene’s.
Toys? Check. Treats? Check. Dog food? I had dry food, but needed moist food. Crate for Beni?  Gabby had a crate there already, but Beni didn’t.  I took apart his crate and put it in the trunk of the car with everything else.
Beni was watching from the couch as I packed up all his things and removed them from the house. I didn’t pay it any mind at the time.
My dad got in the back seat of my car. I picked up Beni, took him outside and handed him to Dad to hold for the ride over.  I got in the front seat with Gabby and started the car.
I drove to Darlene’s house with Gabby in my lap. She had her front legs on my arm and was looking out the window, enjoying the ride. As I drove, I thought “Beni is being awfully quiet back there…”
I turned and looked over my shoulder to see him in the back seat. For the rest of my life, I will never forget what I saw.
The moonlight was coming through the window like a spotlight, hitting Beni square in the face.  I saw his face, and only his face.
Beni was looking at me with the saddest expression I have ever seen on any living creature. It was more intense than any animal in an ASPCA commercial, and if you’ve seen them, you know how heartbreaking they are.
It was heartbreak. It was fear. It was resignation. It was the feeling of being rejected. It was the look of loss. There was even a little bit of terror in there. I saw it all in the moonlight softly illuminating his face.
I knew what was going through his mind. He thought I was getting rid of him. I realized this was the first time he was away from my townhouse in the 10 weeks since I brought him home. He had just seen me take apart his crate, pack up all his stuff and remove it from my house. I took him for walks and let him run in the backyard on his lead, but I didn’t bring him anywhere in the car during all that time. 
I turned my eyes back to the road. I was in shock and stunned from what I saw in his face.

When we got to Darlene’s, he met his first cat, Darlene’s sweet cat Olivia.  I watched him play with Olivia and it was adorable.  All I could think is, “I may just have to keep you, you’re too cute…”

We had forgotten canned food, so Dad and I went to buy some and bring it back to Darlene. As we drove, I told him what I saw and said I thought was going to keep Beni now.

After I picked up the dog food I called Darlene to tell her we would be there shortly. She didn’t even say hello.
“Beni lost it when you left,” she said.
“What happened?”
“Once you left and he saw the car go away he was crying and inconsolable. He was trying to get to the door and get to you.  I finally have him calmed down and he is sitting next to me.”
That was it.  He was staying.

When I got there and opened the door, he scampered over with his head held low, like he did something wrong.  I picked him up, held him and kissed him on the cheek.  As I looked at him, he sighed and seemed so relieved. Only one thing came to my mind and I said it to him:

“I think you were meant to be my dog.”

I had a text conversation with his former owner a few days later.  She agreed to let me keep him, then tried to back out ten minutes later, acting like she never agreed.  I had it in writing on my phone though, and once I had possession of him legally I wasn’t letting go.  It was a done deal, and now I could put her out of my life for good.

When I got home from Las Vegas and saw him again, he was actually my dog now. It was a wonderful reunion, and he was very happy to see me too.
Beni was here to stay.
Here’s a funny video of Beni running in the snow in February of 2011, shortly after he officially became my dog.  The way he runs reminds me of the way I described Gabby running in the “Gabby Grows Up” chapter.  Unfortunately for Gabby, as you see at the end she picked the wrong place to poop!


My relationship with Beni is different than it was with Gabby. Gabby had many human-like qualities, curiosity and very keen intelligence, as well as being incredibly bonded to me, and me to her. Beni loves me and I love him, but his needs are simple. Though he is happy, he doesn’t have Gabby’s exuberance and zeal. He’s smart, but hasn’t shown much interest in learning tricks and doesn’t have any problem–solving ability that I’ve seen. I throw the toy for him, but he doesn’t usually want to play and is content to watch it roll away. 


Beni on his couch

When we are inside, Beni loves to lounge on the couch in the living room. He has pretty much taken ownership of that piece of furniture. He’s happiest running in the yard, barking and chasing motorcycles and chipmunks, with no involvement at all from me. He knows things he’s not supposed to do, but does them anyway and sulks when I catch him in the act. He’s very loving and is very happy to see me come home, but I think he could be happy anywhere he was treated well. He misses me when I am away, but doesn’t let it get him down and his routine says the same. If I went away for a great length of time, Gabby would probably have completely starved herself from the separation anxiety. My mom always said if something would happen to me, Gabby would be following shortly thereafter. I am sure she was right about that.

Beni is a good boy.  He’s my dog, I love him and I am happy and flattered that he chose me.